POULSBO — City engineering director Andrzej Kasiniak presented the City Council with an outline for a plan to improve pedestrian safety Feb. 7.
The proposed Street and Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Plan comes in response to recent incidents in which pedestrians were struck by cars — two of which occurred less than a week apart. In one incident, the pedestrian died.
Two grants totaling $44 million, Kasiniak said, are offered by the state Department of Transportation specifically for city safety and pedestrian and bike programs.
“There are two objectives,” he said. “One is to improve our eligibility for grants, and we have two important grants coming in April and May from Washington [State] Department of Transportation. The second goal, which maybe is even more important, is to reduce fatalities and serious injuries, and accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles on city streets.”
The safety plan being developed will reflect a commitment on the city’s behalf to Vision Zero. Vision Zero is a multi-national traffic safety program which focuses on achieving highway systems that are fatality and injury free. It places an emphasis on reducing excessive vehicle speed by employing “good engineering” practices, as well as education and enforcement.
The plan, Kasiniak said, is two-phased: First, the city will evaluate accident data from 2012-17, identifying key factors common to all the accidents. Then, the city will evaluate locations for potential engineering improvements, and prioritize the projects by type and location, taking into consideration future facilities and pedestrian connections that could be affected.
Kasiniak outlined some possible solutions to make traffic safer in Poulsbo. Possibilities include:Eliminating mid-block crossings;
Installing raised crosswalks;
Incorporating crosswalk refuge islands;
Installing flashing lights;
Installing radar (speed check) signs;
Improving roadway lighting; and
The City Council approved (Council member David Musgrove was absent) a budget amendment allocating $25,000 for the project and authorized Kasiniak to move forward. In March, the council will review a drafted safety plan with possible adoption of the plan slated for April in time for the grant applications to go out in April and May.
At the meeting, Mayor Becky Erickson expressed the need to be thorough in drafting a safety plan.
“We need to do this very methodically,” Erickson said. “This is not something that you snap your fingers and do for fear that you might get something wrong. We’re talking about safety issues here, so this is an excellent approach.”
– Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org